Gone are the days when people used to debate about whether or not social media is affecting our lives or not. That is well way past now. Social media is in our lives. It is our life. We can’t get rid of it. We don’t want to. Even if we are suffering from it.
So, the real question now is how exactly we should navigate social media effectively, so as to not let it completely fuck us up.
To do this, first we need to understand how the negative effects of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. are clogging our brains on a daily basis, and then spreading like a virus, spilling onto our lives and royally fucking it up.
Makes you feel lonely:
Tell us if this sounds familiar- you see a pic of your friends on Instagram, hanging out together at some party or gathering without you, and there is this sudden wave of sadness and pain and loneliness that takes over. Don’t worry, you’re not really alone; in fact you are amongst 56% of social media users with FOMO (Fear of missing out).
After a session of self-pity, there comes a moment when your sadness turns into anger; anger towards your friends for not including you at that one event. And then you start behaving aloof with them. You don’t reply to their calls or messages. You want them to know that you’re hurt, but you don’t want to have to tell them yourself- you want them to realize it on your own. But they don’t realize it, and they mistake your indifference to arrogance and then they shut you out
too. You have thus lost at least a couple friends, all just through social media.
Doesn’t sound familiar at all? Try doing a head count of all your remaining friends.
Fucks up your self-esteem:
The tsunami of perfect photos and videos of people you don’t even know makes you wonder what is it that they are doing right. The smile that your peers pose with, as if nothing goes wrong in their daily lives- makes you wonder as to how a person at the same level as you could be happier than you.
This feeling becomes even more dangerous for you when there is not one, but hundreds of people doing the same thing- it gives a feeling like everyone is on the right track in their lives, and you’re the only one who can’t keep his shit together. Everyone’s perfect, except you.
You lose sleep:
Do you know that social media has become the most common cause of insomnia amongst people?
Surfing the social media in bed, just before falling asleep, is a worldwide phenomenon. Every person in the world thinks ‘I’ll check my feed for 2 minutes and then I’ll sleep’, but it is physically impossible to do that.
This is because getting worked up with anxiety or envy from what we see on social media keeps the brain on high alert, preventing us from falling asleep.
In fact, every person who thinks that actually knows that it’s impossible, yet they keep telling themselves that.
Every day that we postpone falling asleep for social media, we’re getting closer to developing a permanent sleep disorder. If the present trend continues, there will come a time when one wouldn’t be able to sleep under any circumstances- no matter how exhausted you are, no matter how many hours you haven’t slept for, it would just be impossible.
Social media has become a crucial factor in the increase incidence of depression and anxiety, especially amongst adolescents. This occurs, as we have already stated, as a result of lowered self-esteem. Low self-esteem, distorted concepts of perfection may not result from social media at once, but continued exposure for longer periods to social media do.
It’s time for a social media detox…set aside a certain period everyday which you will dedicate to social media. Limit your social media use to just these periods and avoid using it at other times. We know it will be difficult, but try as hard as possible.
Use this time to read a book, or pay attention to old hobbies like painting, or singing or dancing, for example. Withdrawal from social media will eventually make you realize how much time you actually wasted, time that can even be spent on developing a whole new hobby altogether.
Soon you will start to really appreciate things in real time, and the need to share every single thing or check out every single thing about others will begin to fade. And don’t worry, even if it is an addiction, it is not as dire as nicotine or drug addiction-withdrawal from social media isn’t that hard.
Eventually, you will realize that you don’t really need, you have never really needed social media to survive.